Monday Presser 10-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 23rd, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Upchurch]

“Hello. Got any questions?”
Can you talk about Lavert Hill and his first half of the season, how he’s come along in his confidence and getting better?

“Uh, yeah, he’s been very good. We see where he’s addressed his inappropriate gesture and discussed it and feels bad about it. Positive it won’t happen again. On the field, he’s been very good.”

Can you assess John O’Korn’s play Saturday and if I could piggyback, where is Brandon Peters right now with getting backup snaps since Wilton’s injury?

“Yeah, Brandon’s getting backup snaps.”

How has he progressed? Have you seen a lot of improvement out of him since he started getting more snaps?

“Yeah, he’s readying himself to play. He’s one play away right now and every day readying himself to be out there playing.”

And O’Korn Saturday, his play?

“Yeah. Won’t go into everything, but managed the game very well. Got us—everything communicated. Ran the offense very well. There was some duress and some plays that we could have made, et cetera. Go back and look at it, that’s what we’re in the process of doing. He’s—yeah, some good—kind of the theme for our offense—and there’s some things we missed, some opportunities out there, as well.”

You mentioned Brandon’s one play away. Do you want to try and get him some snaps in? He hasn’t gotten snaps really. Are you guys trying to make an effort to get him in or is that not really a priority at this point?

“Just go along the process of readying him to play. Backup quarterback always needs to be ready to play.”

[After THE JUMP: the message from here on and why a cliché is a cliché]

Wednesday Presser 10-18-17: Mike Zordich

Wednesday Presser 10-18-17: Mike Zordich

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 19th, 2017 at 8:01 AM

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[Fuller]

Jim said the Lavert [Hill] pick was not a penalty. What did you see on that play?

“Yeah, I was astonished. I actually asked the official at halftime, I said, ‘What happened? What’d he do?’ He said he tugged on his top shoulder and that’s what made him able to slingshot in front of him. You look at the film and you don’t see that, you just see a kid making a hell of a play, so I was surprised.”

Tyree [Kinnel] said he sees a little Jourdan [Lewis] in him. Do you see that?

“Yeah, you know what, I can see it. I can see what Tyree’s saying, and Lavert is starting to come out of his shell a little bit and you can see his fieriness, his competitiveness more in practice as the year goes, so absolutely.”

Have you been pretty happy with David Long’s progression at the other spot?

“David has progressed well. B-Wat has progressed well. Yes, happy. We still need to progress, absolutely.”

We’re starting to see a little bit of Ambry Thomas in pivotal game moments. What has he been able to do?

“Ambry’s come along. He had to go in there because David got dinged up a little bit or a little dizzy, but Ambry’s coming and so is Benjamin St. Juste. Both those guys are working extremely hard. I would say if they keep up this pace, in a couple weeks I wouldn’t be afraid to put them in more than what they’re seeing now.”

[After THE JUMP: the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau is gonna love this]

Wednesday Presser 10-18-17: Tim Drevno

Wednesday Presser 10-18-17: Tim Drevno

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 18th, 2017 at 6:15 PM

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[Fuller]

How much improvement did you see from your guys up front in that Indiana game?

“I saw a lot of improvement. It was good. We still need to play better offensively and the guys up front, but when you rush for 271 yards there’s a lot of positivity. Guys are moving guys off the ball and protection was better, so it was a step forward as we prepare against Penn State this week.”

How much improvement have you seen out of Mike Onwenu?

“A lot, a lot of improvement. You can see that he’s moving his feet, he’s understanding it, he’s finishing. He could finish a little bit better, like all of them can, everybody on the offense. But you can see it. Light bulb’s going on, which is neat. He’s playing good football—really good football.”

How did Juwann Bushell-Beatty do in his first full contest?

“Juwann did a nice job. He competed well. There’s some thing we’ve got to clean up but he did a nice job for his first start here. He had a false start there at one point in time in the game but for the most part his protection was good. We’ve just got to clean up some of the run blocking things, but it was real positive.”

[After THE JUMP: Tim Drevno, an American Legion baseball field, a water pump, and a metaphor for the offense]

Monday Presser 10-16-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-16-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 16th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

Can you just talk about Rashan’s play on Saturday and how far you’ve seen him come this year?

“Yes, it was really good. Both him and Mo Hurst got accolades for the game: linemen of the week, both of ‘em. Mo makes a field goal block and Mo really played good this week, played really good last week.
”Rashan: can’t say enough. I mean, he left it all out there on that field. Was with him walking off the field and the epitome of leaving all on the field. Played great. He really helped, was very impactful, in their quarterback only rushing for 14 yards, and we were really worried about that. As on offense, they got out on the one 31-yarder but rushed for in the 80s. Took away something that had been very, very effective for them. Been saying it for a couple weeks now, Rashan’s gotten doubled, he’s gotten chipped, he’s gotten cut. Probably the ultimate compliment you can pay to a football player is to have that much concern about one guy and have that part of your gameplan. He’s earning that kind of respect.

“And the defense, the defense again was playing really well. You start stacking up some of the things that they’ve done in terms of limiting opponents to total yards; there’s a stat there that we’re one of I think ten teams that have allowed 280-some yards or less in their first six ball games since 2000. Most punts against us of any team in college football this year. Some really great things—three and outs. Our team is playing very well on defense.

“Great to see the turnovers. Lavert Hill’s interception; thought his other interception was a legal play. Didn’t feel like he interfered on that one. Tyree [Kinnel] gets the one in the back of the end zone, that was great. Great effort by Chase Winovich getting the big hit, getting the hustle play, and putting pressure on the quarterback. There’s a lot to be said. Linebackers again played really well; Devin Bush Jr. and Mike McCray are both up in that seven, eight, nine tackle a game category this week, which you expect them to be. But a good rushing team in Indiana and limiting them to the 80-some yards is really good.
”Also, Mike is really, as you’d expect from the captain, getting guys in position. Critical play late in the game, they’re inside the five-yard line, they go for the running play, we had a blitz called and the safety was lined up on the wrong side. Mike was the one that got him and us lined up correctly and we were able to get that run. Been some really good things.”

[After THE JUMP: on the offensive line, Barkley, opportunity, do-stuff-right guys, and Penn State’s defense]

Indiana Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Indiana Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 16th, 2017 at 9:16 AM

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[Fuller]

[Ed. A- I couldn’t make it to Indiana this past weekend but luckily Ace and David were willing and able. David pulled out the kind of move you’d expect from a wily veteran and got my recorder on the table right in front of the mic, which matters a ton to me and none to you. But hey, here’s a post for you to read with words that were said, then recorded with excellent clarity, and finally transcribed with… hands? Yes, hands and typing and such.]

Can you talk about Karan Higdon today, especially on those big plays?

“Yeah, he was phenomenal. I don’t know how many yards he got after contact but they were tough yards, and had some plays that looked like they were going to be a tackle for loss or a one-yard gain or no gain that he found a way to get four or five out of. More than a few. Lot of yards—I think more than 200 in the game—and cracked the big one for us and didn’t get trapped behind the line thought, I don’t know, if at all, maybe a couple times. But yeah, big boost from Karan Higdon today.”

Defense had been on the field a lot and when they faced goal-to-go from the two and had two negative plays and couldn’t come up much bigger. Talk about how those guys dug down deep were able to dig down deep.

“Yeah, I really thought our whole team did. Put our best people on it, our players and out coaches, and asked them to find a way and knew that we were going to have to dig down deep to do it. The goal-line stand was a great opportunity for us to keep them out of the end zone and win the ball game and responded with the tackle for loss and the incompletion, interception, and the quarterback option run up the middle so it was a great four plays for us.”

Was there a point in the game when you realized that Karan was going to be the guy to carry you through on offense or was that always the plan going in?

“Yeah, I mean, Karan started the game and we leaned on him heavy. I thought Chris [Evans] and Ty [Isaac] both added some good plays there. Nice to see Kareem Walker get a shot and produce; might be more carries for him in the future. We’ve got a long way to go. We’re very humble about this, and we’ll move on to a big road game next week, but this was a big game for our team. And mistakes were made but I think it’s something we can really grow from.”

[After THE JUMP: “We were grinding some meat out there today” is a way better phrase than “It was tough sledding”]

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Greg Mattison

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 12th, 2017 at 8:07 AM

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[Fuller]

Just talk about Mo Hurst’s game last game. Haven’t seen a lineman play that well probably in a long time.

“Well, yeah, Mo had a really good ballgame. Mo’s done some really, really good things. Obviously as a senior in big games you want to play your best and he’s been practicing that way to do that. I was happy for him. He’s capable of doing that a lot this year; he’s very explosive. The thing I’m proud of him is he’s been a good leader and he’s worked very, very hard. The guys look up to him and you want guys like that to have the reward of playing like that.”

How’s Mike Dwumfour coming along?

“Mike Dwumfour’s coming along very well. He has a lot of Mo in him. He really does. They both are very quick twitch, they’re explosive, they can run. You’ll see Mike a lot more as the season goes on. He played in this last game and I feel like we’re really starting to get with the D-line like we had before with the two-deep. They’ve worked hard in practice, and the only thing you can judge by is practice. The guys are working really hard in practice. Coach Brown does a great job of rotating them in practice like we do in-game, and they’re all starting to become that two-deep group like I want them to.”

This isn’t a criticism of Rashan, but it seems like he’s maybe a quarter step slow off the snap sometimes. Is that just because he’s playing next to a guy like Maurice Hurst?

“Well, I’d question anybody who would say Rashan’s a step slow. I bet you’d like to ask the people he’s played against if he’s a step slow. I think if anything it’s because he’s being very, very unselfish and very team-oriented and he’s knowing he’s playing the run first, and when you’re playing the run there’s a lot of times you have to react as you step as a D-lineman, and that’s what he’s doing.

“We could get all our guys to just come sprinting off the football if you wanted to but I don’t think you’d be happy with the outcome of that. I’m very proud of Rashan because he continues to try to work on his technique and continues to try to do what the defense asks him to do, and great things are going to happen because of that.”

[After THE JUMP: scouting a DeBord offense, the development of Solomon and Paye, and some good stories about Winovich]

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 11th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

What do you say to Devin Bush when he gets caught retaliating after something that happened? Just you still can’t do that?

“Yeah, control your emotions. I mean, that’s unacceptable no matter what happens prior or what your frustrations are. You can’t do that. You can’t hurt the team like that, and he’s going to have to deal with that. He’s a phenomenal player and teams are going to try to do stuff to antagonize him. It’s a growing process in maturity. It’s unacceptable.”

Going up against Patrick Ramsey, the new quarterback at Indiana, what challenges do you see from Indiana’s offense?

“They’re very well coached. They do some good things to put you in binds. The quarterback can run, he can throw it. You’ve got big receivers on the outside. The running backs run hard. The line, they get after it. They obviously have a tempo to their offense where they’re going to hurry-hurry you. I mean, there’s a lot of challenges there.”

I guess Michigan State sent film in of Devin. Is that a concern? Do you talk to him about things like that?

“No, we just play football. Not going to get into them sending film. The officials are going to officiate the game. We’re going to play football and tackle like we tackle and it’s to keep our head out of it, that’s what we teach. But I’m not going to get into what they’re going to decide to do after the game.”

Your thoughts on how your group played in that game?

“You’re talking linebackers?”

Yeah.

“Um… I mean, we didn’t so… I don’t know. I mean, we were okay. Not our best performance, but, again, didn’t do things to win the game either. Think we’ve got to continue to get better week in and week out.”

[After THE JUMP: linebackers coming on recently, DPJ’s development, and hang time oh glorious hang time]

Monday Presser 10-9-17: Players

Monday Presser 10-9-17: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 10th, 2017 at 8:02 AM

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[Fuller]

[Ed. A- These are all conducted as huddles, so transcripts aren’t complete. Ellipses indicate a break in a line of questioning.]

Grant Perry

How has [O’Korn] bounced back in the last 36 hours, whether it’s in the meeting room or meals?

“He’s bounced back his whole college career. He was a great player down in Houston and some things happened and he was forced to move on from there and he’s been waiting for his shot the past few years, so he’s been really battling his whole college career. I like that because that gives him some edge and I’m looking forward to getting this week in with him and seeing what he can do.”

What was his demeanor like after the game and yesterday preparing for Indiana?

“Well, we haven’t really prepared for Indiana yet. That’s what today’s for. Yesterday was more of an off day just to relax but he’s the same guy he is. We’re going to get back after it. We’re going to come back stronger.”

What do you think the biggest problems are on offense?

“I wouldn’t single out just any certain problems. I think football is, if not the most team game there is—11 people have to be doing 11 things correctly at a time so it’s on all of us. We all have to be operating smoothly for it to work.”

What’s been going through your mind since Saturday?

“I wanted that one badly. I wanted to get the trophy, to beat Michigan State, but it is what it is. We took one on the chin but we’ve got to get over that, 24 hour rule, and get ready for Indiana.”

[After THE JUMP: Patrick Kugler and Josh Metellus]

Monday Presser 10-9-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-9-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 9th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

They said on the broadcast that Wilton had a couple broken vertebrae. Is he out for the year and can you comment on that?

“Multiple weeks. I don’t know that he’ll be out for the year.”

The vertebrae part is accurate though?

“Yeah, there’s some cracks in there. Yeah. And not a doctor, but think it’s similar to…yeah, I don’t want to say. Yes.”

After watching the film, would you have liked to have gotten the ball to Karan Higdon more? He was averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Should he have gotten the ball more, especially in the rain and the wind?

“Uh, yeah, he had—Karan played well.”

But no answer to my question?

“What do you—you want to question the play-calling? That usually is the case when something doesn’t work, so…”

But you don’t question that, how much he got the ball there or don’t want to with us?

“No. What I want to do is yeah, I want to look at the film, I want to learn from it. I’m not gonna get into questioning the play-calling.”

[SID calls on next person]

“It’s a very convenient thing, right? Play worked and hey, it was a great play because it worked. Play doesn’t work: would you wish you had done something else, had a different play call? Sure, that’s very easy to do. That’s a very—hindsight is 20/20.”

Just thought maybe there was something I was missing.

“That’s a standard question that when a play works, hey, great play call. You run a third-down draw against Florida and it works: hey, great call. You call a play that doesn’t work: would you wish you would have called a different play? That’s a very easy thing to do.”

[After THE JUMP: finding the offense’s identity, Indiana’s defensive standouts, and the final say on play-calling]

Michigan State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Michigan State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 8th, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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[Upchurch]

It’s a hard game to put in words. What are your impressions of what happened tonight?

“Too many turnovers. We got momentum going, then we turned it over. You can’t expect to win when you turn it over five times.”

Replacing Nolan [Ulizio] with Juwann [Bushell-Beatty]: what went into that and how long were you guys planning on leaving Nolan in there before switching him out at that right tackle spot?

“It wasn’t a plan. Coaches decided to make the switch.”

How far along was it?

“At what point? I can’t remember exactly what point it was in the game.”

There was a stretch there with the three interceptions and you guys throwing the ball around. Did you consider running the ball more and what went into the playcalling during that stretch?

“Yeah, I mean, you can criticize that. We were trying to run the ball. We were trying to piece drives together. We really were. That was—we needed to score points and we needed to piece drives together and that’s what we were trying to do.”

There was a lot that went wrong on offense tonight but what can you hang your hat on the most in this game? What made you most proud of the offense even through all the faults tonight?

“Just not enough good things. There were good things. Opening drive was good; sixteen plays. We get the ball back, we started to do it again then three plays then we had a fumble. That two-minute drive before the half, that was materializing and looked like we would get points and we stopped ourselves there.

“Then we had the interception. It was hard to tell from where I was standing whether John was throwing the crossing route. Think he was expecting the receiver, Kekoa, to keep coming on the move. It was one of those things, weren’t on the same page there. I think the one ball, to your points, didn’t have a good grip on it. Overthrew the receiver. But yeah, there was good things. Not enough good things. Stopped ourselves. In the course of piecing drives together we turned the ball over. That’s what I saw.”

[Hit THE JUMP for more]